Jessica Wilson’s Metaphysical Emergence is the product of two decades of thought, worked out in more than two dozen articles. In it, she seeks to understand the way(s) that a variety of complex natural entities (whether objects, properties, states, events, or processes) manifest dependence with autonomy in relation to constituting or otherwise sustaining less complex entities. Wilson provides a detailed, well-conceived, and clarifying taxonomy of competing approaches that divides them into two families, weak and strong. Unlike many others, Wilson is alive to the possibility that we may need accounts from each family to understand all instances of emergence in the natural world. In arguing meticulously for her favored accounts of each kind and their most plausible domains of application, she engages with equal depth a wide swathe of metaphysical and scientific theorizing, both contemporary and (for methodological lessons) historical. The book is masterful. While it will prove challenging...
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Book Review| October 01 2022
Oxford University Press,
xii + 320 pp.
The Philosophical Review (2022) 131 (4): 532–536.
Timothy O’Connor; Metaphysical Emergence. The Philosophical Review 1 October 2022; 131 (4): 532–536. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-10136947
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